30+ Bible Verses About Complaining (with Explanation)

Complaining is a universal human experience, often stemming from dissatisfaction with circumstances, relationships, or personal struggles. While expressing concerns and seeking solutions can be healthy, the Bible provides guidance on the dangers of a habitual complaining spirit.

The Scriptures offer a transformative perspective, urging believers to embrace gratitude, trust in God’s providence, and cultivate contentment.

Through these verses, we discover a profound invitation to shift our focus from discontent to gratitude, fostering a spirit of resilience and trust in God’s unwavering faithfulness.

Also Read: Bible Verses About Being Thankful for the Little Things (with Explanation)

Bible Verses About Complaining

Philippians 2:14 (NIV)

Do everything without grumbling or arguing.

Complaining is addressed in the Bible as a behavior that Christians should strive to avoid. In Philippians 2:14, Paul encourages believers to engage in their actions with a spirit of contentment and gratitude. The verse emphasizes the importance of maintaining a positive attitude, refraining from grumbling, and avoiding unnecessary arguments. By doing so, believers contribute to a harmonious community and demonstrate a commitment to living out the principles of love and unity.

James 5:9 (ESV)

Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

James warns against complaining within the community of believers. Grumbling against one another not only disrupts the unity of the body but also puts individuals at risk of judgment.

The verse highlights the imminent return of Jesus as the Judge, urging believers to be mindful of their words and actions towards one another. This admonition underscores the significance of fostering a culture of love, patience, and understanding among believers.

1 Corinthians 10:10 (NLT)

And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death.

Paul refers to the Israelites in the wilderness as an example of the consequences of complaining. In 1 Corinthians 10:10, he cautions believers against grumbling by reminding them of the fate of those who complained in the past.

The reference to the angel of death serves as a sobering reminder of the severity of God’s response to a complaining and ungrateful heart. This verse emphasizes the importance of cultivating contentment and trust in God’s providence.

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Ephesians 4:29 broadens the perspective on complaining by encouraging believers to avoid any unwholesome talk. Complaining often involves negative speech that can harm relationships and create division.

Instead, believers are urged to use their words to build up others and meet their needs. This verse underscores the transformative power of positive and edifying communication within the Christian community.

Numbers 11:1 (NIV)

Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused.

The Old Testament provides a vivid illustration of the consequences of complaining in Numbers 11:1. The Israelites’ complaints about their hardships reach the ears of the Lord, leading to His anger.

This verse serves as a cautionary tale, demonstrating that complaining not only affects human relationships but also has spiritual implications. It underscores the need for believers to approach challenges with faith and trust in God’s sovereignty rather than succumbing to a spirit of discontent.

Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:17 encourages believers to approach every aspect of life with gratitude and a focus on the Lord. Complaining is counter to this directive, as it reflects a lack of thanksgiving and a failure to acknowledge God’s sovereignty in all circumstances.

The verse challenges believers to cultivate a mindset of thankfulness, recognizing that even challenges and difficulties can be opportunities for growth and reliance on God.

Psalm 106:25 (ESV)

They murmured in their tents and did not obey the voice of the Lord.

The psalmist recounts the Israelites’ murmuring in Psalm 106:25, linking complaining with disobedience to God’s voice. This verse illustrates the connection between a complaining spirit and a lack of obedience.

It serves as a reminder that complaining not only reflects a discontented heart but also hinders one’s ability to heed God’s guidance. Believers are called to actively listen to God’s voice and respond with obedience rather than succumbing to the temptation to grumble.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Paul’s exhortation in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 emphasizes the transformative power of gratitude. Instead of complaining in challenging circumstances, believers are called to give thanks.

This verse underscores the idea that a thankful heart is in alignment with God’s will. It challenges believers to shift their perspective from complaining about difficulties to expressing gratitude in all situations, trusting that God is at work for their good.

Proverbs 19:3 (ESV)

When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.

Proverbs 19:3 reveals a connection between personal actions, consequences, and the temptation to complain. The verse suggests that when individuals experience the repercussions of their own choices, they may be inclined to direct their frustration toward God.

This serves as a cautionary reminder to take responsibility for one’s actions and avoid the destructive cycle of complaining in the face of self-inflicted difficulties.

Exodus 16:8 (NIV)

You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.

In Exodus 16:8, Moses addresses the Israelites’ complaints about the lack of food in the wilderness. His response highlights a profound truth – complaining against the circumstances or leaders can be, ultimately, a complaint against God.

This verse underscores the importance of trusting God’s provision and sovereignty, even in challenging situations, rather than expressing discontent through grumbling. It challenges believers to recognize the spiritual implications of complaining and to turn to God with faith and humility instead.

Jude 1:16 (NIV)

These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

In the book of Jude, a description is given of individuals who are characterized by grumbling and faultfinding. Jude identifies these traits as indicative of a self-centered and ungodly mindset.

This verse serves as a warning against allowing a complaining spirit to take root, as it can lead to destructive behaviors and attitudes. Believers are called to resist such tendencies and instead cultivate a heart that seeks God’s will and the well-being of others.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28 provides a foundational perspective on adversity and challenges. Instead of complaining in difficult circumstances, believers are reminded that God works all things for the good of those who love Him.

This verse encourages a shift in focus from complaints to trust in God’s providence, even when the reasons for challenges are not immediately clear. It invites believers to approach every situation with the confidence that God is actively working for their ultimate good.

Proverbs 17:22 (NLT)

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.

Proverbs 17:22 highlights the impact of attitude on well-being. Complaining often contributes to a broken spirit, draining an individual’s strength.

This verse emphasizes the importance of cultivating a cheerful heart and choosing joy over complaint. It serves as a practical reminder of the positive effects of maintaining a positive attitude, not only for personal well-being but also for the well-being of those around.

Luke 6:45 (ESV)

The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Luke 6:45 underscores the connection between the content of one’s heart and the words that are spoken. Complaining often originates from a heart filled with discontent and negativity.

This verse challenges believers to address the root of complaining by cultivating a heart that is aligned with God’s principles, producing words that reflect His goodness rather than expressions of dissatisfaction.

Psalm 34:1 (NIV)

I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.

Psalm 34:1 expresses a commitment to praise God continually. This verse provides a powerful antidote to complaining by encouraging believers to shift their focus from their circumstances to the greatness of God.

By consistently extolling the Lord and keeping His praise on their lips, believers can create a habit of gratitude that counteracts the tendency to complain in the face of challenges.

1 Peter 4:9 (NIV)

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

In 1 Peter 4:9, believers are urged to extend hospitality to one another without grumbling. This verse emphasizes the importance of genuine and selfless service to others, contrasting it with a begrudging or complaining attitude.

By approaching acts of kindness with a joyful and willing spirit, believers can reflect the love of Christ and build a sense of community that is free from the divisive influence of complaining.

Philippians 4:11-12 (NLT)

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.

Paul’s words in Philippians 4:11-12 provide a profound perspective on contentment. Instead of complaining about their circumstances, believers are encouraged to learn the secret of being content in all situations.

This secret lies in cultivating a mindset of gratitude and trust in God’s provision, regardless of the external conditions. This verse challenges believers to embrace contentment as a learned and practiced attitude.

Psalm 19:14 (ESV)

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:14 serves as a prayer for the alignment of thoughts and words with God’s standards.

This verse is a reminder that complaining often stems from a heart that is not fully surrendered to God. By seeking the Lord’s guidance in the meditation of the heart and the words spoken, believers can actively work against the inclination to complain and instead contribute to an atmosphere of faith and trust in God’s sovereignty.

Proverbs 10:19 (NIV)

Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.

Proverbs 10:19 offers practical wisdom regarding speech. Complaining often involves an abundance of words that may not contribute to a resolution.

This verse encourages believers to exercise prudence by refraining from unnecessary and unproductive words. By practicing restraint and choosing words carefully, believers can avoid the pitfalls of complaining and contribute to a more positive and constructive communication.

Psalm 106:12 (NLT)

Then his people believed his promises. Then they sang his praise.

Psalm 106:12 recounts a shift in the attitude of God’s people from doubt to belief. Instead of complaining, they chose to believe in God’s promises and respond with praise.

This verse encourages believers to adopt a similar mindset, recognizing that faith and trust in God’s promises can replace the tendency to complain. It highlights the transformative power of praise as a response to challenges, fostering a spirit of gratitude and dependence on God.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

In the famous “love chapter” of 1 Corinthians 13, the qualities of love are outlined. Complaining often arises from a lack of patience, kindness, or humility.

This passage challenges believers to embody love in their interactions, promoting an environment where complaints have no place. By cultivating a loving spirit, believers contribute to a community characterized by understanding, compassion, and unity.

Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 offers a remedy for the inclination to complain – turning to God in prayer with a heart of thanksgiving. Instead of allowing anxiety or dissatisfaction to lead to complaints, believers are encouraged to bring their concerns before God.

This passage promises that the peace of God, which surpasses understanding, will guard hearts and minds, providing a divine alternative to the habit of complaining.

Psalm 119:165 (NIV)

Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Psalm 119:165 emphasizes the connection between peace and a love for God’s law. Complaining often arises from a lack of alignment with God’s principles.

This verse suggests that those who immerse themselves in God’s Word and love His law will experience great peace. By prioritizing a life guided by biblical principles, believers can cultivate an inner peace that counteracts the temptation to complain.

 James 1:19-20 (NLT)

Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

James 1:19-20 provides practical guidance for managing emotions, including the impulse to complain. By being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, believers can navigate interpersonal challenges with wisdom and discernment.

This passage emphasizes that human anger, which often manifests in complaining, does not align with God’s desire for righteousness. It encourages a measured and patient approach to communication that fosters understanding and unity.

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 offers a source of strength and encouragement for times of difficulty. Instead of giving in to the temptation to complain in the face of fear or dismay, believers are reassured of God’s presence and support.

This verse encourages a shift from a complaining mindset to one of trust and reliance on the steadfast faithfulness of God.

1 Timothy 6:6-8 (ESV)

But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

In 1 Timothy 6:6-8, Paul emphasizes the value of contentment. Believers are encouraged to find great gain in combining godliness with contentment, recognizing that material possessions are transient.

This passage challenges the desire for more that often leads to complaining. Instead, it advocates for a focus on spiritual riches and a contented heart, grounded in the understanding that true wealth is found in a relationship with God.

Psalm 55:22 (NIV)

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

Psalm 55:22 provides a comforting invitation to cast cares and concerns on the Lord. Rather than succumbing to the urge to complain about life’s challenges, believers are urged to trust in God’s sustaining power.

This verse assures that the righteous, those who seek God’s ways, will not be shaken. It encourages a reliance on God’s strength and a shift away from the burden of complaints to the freedom of casting cares upon the Lord.

Ecclesiastes 7:9 (NIV)

Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.

Ecclesiastes 7:9 counsels against quick and impulsive reactions, which often lead to complaining. Believers are encouraged to exercise patience and restraint, recognizing that hasty responses can be foolish and counterproductive.

This verse calls for a measured and thoughtful approach to challenges, promoting a mindset that avoids the pitfalls of complaining and instead seeks wisdom in navigating difficult situations.

Romans 12:2 (NLT)

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Romans 12:2 emphasizes the transformational power of renewing the mind. Complaining often stems from adopting the attitudes and behaviors of the world. This verse calls believers to resist conformity to worldly patterns and instead undergo a transformation through the renewing of their minds.

By aligning their thoughts with God’s perspective, believers can overcome the inclination to complain and, in turn, discover God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will.

Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:31 offers a powerful image of renewed strength for those who place their hope in the Lord. Rather than dwelling on complaints in times of weariness or challenge, believers are encouraged to anchor their hope in God.

This verse depicts a dynamic relationship with God that transcends the limitations of human strength, providing a source of endurance and resilience that counters the impulse to complain.

Also Read: Bible Verses About Retirement (with Explanation)

What Does the Bible Say About Complaining

Gratitude and Contentment

Philippians 2:14 (NIV) Do everything without grumbling or arguing.

This verse encourages believers to engage in their actions with a spirit of contentment and gratitude. Complaining is discouraged as it goes against the principles of a positive and thankful attitude.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV) give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Believers are called to cultivate a habit of thanksgiving in all circumstances, implying that complaining is contrary to God’s will. Gratitude is presented as an alternative to the complaining spirit.

Trust in God’s Providence

Numbers 11:1 (NIV) Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused.

The Old Testament provides examples of the consequences of complaining. This verse demonstrates that complaining about hardships can provoke God’s displeasure, emphasizing the importance of trusting God’s providence.

1 Corinthians 10:10 (NLT) And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death.

Paul refers to the Israelites’ complaints in the wilderness as a cautionary example. The verse highlights the serious consequences of a complaining spirit, reinforcing the need for trust in God’s guidance.

Positive Communication

Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Believers are encouraged to avoid unwholesome talk, which includes complaining. Instead, the emphasis is on communication that builds up and benefits others.

A Prayer for a Grateful Heart

Heavenly Father,

We come before you with humble hearts, acknowledging your sovereignty over our lives. We confess that at times we have allowed a spirit of complaining to overshadow the gratitude and trust we should have in Your perfect plan. Forgive us, Lord, for the times we’ve overlooked Your countless blessings and instead focused on our perceived difficulties.

Lord, grant us a spirit of contentment that transcends circumstances. Help us to follow the example of Paul, who learned the secret of being content in all situations. May our hearts overflow with gratitude, recognizing that every good and perfect gift comes from You.

Guard our hearts against the subtle sin of grumbling, Lord. May we be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, following the wisdom imparted in Your Word. Let our lives reflect the love and patience that comes from a heart-centered on You.

In Jesus’ name, we pray.